I recently spoke with master drummer Adrian Erlandsson of Cradle of Filth. Their new album, Damnation and a Day has been getting a lot of press and doing quite well. Here's what he had to say...
MR: I’m really excited about the new album. I think it’s great personally. What’s your favorite track?
AE: My favorite track? At the moment I think it’s “Thank God for the Suffering,” the slowest one with the orchestra. We’ve started practicing it for the live set now and we’ve got … I’m playing it on a click track and we’ve got all the orchestras and stuff on playback. It’s a monster track and it sounds massive. At the moment, that’s my favorite.
MR: What are your thoughts on the sound of the album in general?
AE: I think it’s got a lot more power attack and bottom end to it. I think it’s a lot more defined than any of the other albums we’ve done. You can actually here what’s going on better. And the balance is a lot better than what we’ve managed to accomplish in the past. That comes a lot from the songs being a lot more worked out and planned out prior to actually recording them.
MR: Was there any particular direction you wanted to go in with this album?
AE: When we started writing the tracks, we wanted to make the songs more Cradle of Filth if you know what I mean. More to the point. Less sort of beating around the bush. (laughs) We just wanted it to be more hard-hitting and more in your face. More memorable but also on the other hand more orchestral and more, dare I say, edgy.
MR: Take us through the songwriting process of one song. Who writes what and how do you arrange the songs?
AE: For this album it’s been a lot different than how we wrote previous albums. I’ll say about how we wrote this. The main thing is say Paul for example would come up with a rough idea for a music bit. He would play it and we would talk to each other without the intent of it becoming a song. And then, he would record it in his home on the DAT and he would give it to me and I would then sort of jam along with it on my electronic kit at home and come up with some ideas, record them and give it back to him and at that point Martin would get it as well. Then Paul would rewrite the riff and Martin would work on the arrangement. It would go around like that in a circle until it started to sound like a song and at that point we’d take it down to the practice room and actually sort of take it apart together and start playing it as a band.
MR: Great!
AE: That is one of the reasons that I think the songs are a lot more memorable now. We actually worked through them and recorded them in the various times of the demo stages which hasn’t been the case of any other piece this band has ever done. No real demos before going into the studio.
MR: What covers, if any, did you record during the Damnation and a Day sessions?
AE: We did, although I think we’re going to re-record it, we did a cover of Cliff Richard’s “Devil Woman.” (laughs) I know it sounds weird but we most probably will have King Diamond sing on it.
MR: Wow, that’s great.
AE: Yeah, and we did a cover of “Mr. Crowley.”
MR: It seems everyone is covering that lately.
AE: Yeah, I know. It’s a bit crap because like we were expecting that Ozzy was going to sing on it, but somehow it leaked out in the press that we had recorded it and the journalist that printed it, we’d sort of confirmed that Ozzy was going to sing on it and when Sharon Osbourne saw it, that was that. (laughs) Not doing it. But hopefully, you never know in the future. He might change his mind, I mean that track is just gonna sit there. We don’t know yet what we’re gonna do with it yet.
MR: For you, can you compare playing in Cradle of Filth to playing in say At The Gates or The Haunted?
AE: Well I mean, I’m still playing drums. (laughs) But that’s about where the similarities end, I guess. This band takes so much more time out of my life than any of my previous bands. (pause)
MR: Ok…
AE: I mean musically there’s more going on in the songs. Perhaps if you listen to earlier releases of At The Gates it becomes closest to the earlier releases of Cradle as far as the drumming goes anyway.
MR: Cradle of Filth’s lineup has changed a lot over the years...
AE: Yeah.
MR: Is the current lineup finally stable?
AE: I hope so! (laughs) I know a lot of people have like really strong opinions on it. To be honest, to find six people who think along the same lines and share the same interests and like have everything else sort of on a similar level. (pause) This band takes up so much time from us, it’s hard to keep everybody focused at the same time and on the same page. So it’s a lot to do with why there have been so many members.
MR: All right. Fair enough.
AE: As far as the last two ones, when Rob left, the bass player, he left purely on his own accord because he’d had enough of it. I mean, he’d done it for ten years and he was wanting a change. And also, the same goes for Gian, Gian Pyres. He just got to a point in his life where he wanted to do something else. I mean, you can’t keep people that are not 100% into it.
MR: I completely agree with that. Now shifting more to say touring, how does it feel to be on Ozzfest and how did that come about?
AE: We were actually offered to be on the Ozzfest last year and we were going to be mainly supporting Slayer on the B stage.
MR: Well I know you played the Ozzfest in England…
AE: Yeah, just the one day. I think they’ve actually tried to get us on there for the last three years. I mean it’s a great opportunity for us as a band to play in front of loads and loads of people but its is a lot to wish for. Obviously it’s a festival during the daytime so it’s gonna be a bit difficult to recreate all the visual effects that we normally have when we do like our headlining shows. But I mean, with all the PR and stuff and the people that are going to meet us, the shows are an opportunity that are really hard to pass up.
MR: Now since many of the bands on Ozzfest are so-called Nu-metal, what is your opinion of that style?
AE: I don’t really listen to it. (hearty laughter) But I mean, I think it’s cool that different bands are playing on this. Like if you look at the Milwaukee Metalfest, most of the bands that are playing there, you get like 100 cheesy death metal bands. There’s hardly a chance to take all of that in. With Ozzfest, there is a bit of diversity for the bill, which is always good.
MR: And are there plans for a US headlining tour after Ozzfest?
AE: There is. And it kind of depends on … We’re gonna do some shows of our own in between the Ozzfest days and how those dates go will sort of dictate how extensive the American tour will be. It will be sort of late October, early November.
MR: What have been your best and worst experiences while touring? That’s you personally.
AE: Um …
MR: It can be with any band, not just Cradle.
AE: The best experience so far was probably when we played Ozzfest last year with Cradle here in England sharing the stage with Slayer. Also we played Tattoo The Planet last year and the year before but definitely Ozzfest. Going in front of all those people was a great rush. And the worst, I would have to say, was one of the gigs I did with At The Gates when actually I hit myself in the balls when I was playing.
MR: OOOH. (laughter) Ok, on tour, when you’ve toured with other bands, has treated you the best and which has treated you the worst?
AE: (long pause) What do you mean?
MR: I mean, like, who treated you like royalty and who treated you like shit?
AE: (pause) I have to say that we haven’t done many support tours. The only support tour that we’ve done so far has been Tattoo The Planet. We obviously opened up for Slayer and the Ozzfest. But I mean, I can’t really say. We’ve had good treatment so far. The only thing I could say is that Kerry King was slagging me off afterwards.
MR: Alright …
AE: Have you heard of that?
MR: Yeah, I have.
AE: Yeah. I wish he would have said that to my face. He’s a bit of a coward.
MR: Alright. Now Cradle of Filth is known for some pretty sick concerts. What is the sickest thing that has happened at one of your shows?
AE: (pause) This was actually before I was in the band.
MR: Ok.
AE: The band had a signing. I think it was in Australia. Someone had like a prosthetic leg that they took off and had it signed. And then, later on at the gig, there was a massive moshpit going on and this very same leg came flying up on the stage.
MR: (hearty laughter)
AE: Is that sick enough for you?
MR: (laughter) Yeah! How do the fans treat you in different places? For example, how do the European fans compare to the American compare to Japanese fans compare to South American fans?
AE: I don’t know. People are like really talkative all over the place. The main difference would be the Japanese people. They don’t really say much. They just come up and they sort of bow and they have the CD cover, they ALWAYS do, and they have it signed. Apart from that, everywhere else that we go, the fans are really talkative. They want to meet the band and have stuff signed, which is cool, you know?
MR: Great.
AE: It’s really great relating to the fans.
MR: No, I know. I completely agree. Now in your opinion, where do you think the metal scene is stronger right now, in Europe or in the US?
AE: (pause) Um, they seem to be a bit different. Here we seem to have more of a focus on melody than American bands do even though America has produced the sort of really big bands. There’s loads of sort of good death metal bands coming from there as well now. Like Haste and Nile, which is cool. Europe is mainly centered on Germany, I’m afraid, where the power metal is. Thrash metal is coming back here thanks to The Haunted.
MR: The Haunted. Yeah, definitely The Haunted. Now, who are your biggest personal influences?
AE: I’d say Exodus, Forbidden, Death Angel and Slayer. They’re the bands that I listen to all the time. Judas Priest. Saxon. That’s about all. Mostly sort of like 80’s and early 90’s metal bands because that’s when all the good albums that have actually caught my attention that much, you know, to the point of actually wanting to make a career out of it.
MR: For all the aspiring drummers, what equipment do you use?
AE: I’ve got a Gretsch Broadkaster kit, Sabian cymbals, Tama heads, DW pedals, and Vic Firth sticks.
MR: Everyone uses Vic Firth.
AE: Yeah, they’re free. (laughs) No, they’re fucking brilliant. They’ve been really supportive of me and I like them a lot.
MR: I gotta say, you’re English is amazing. You speak better than most Americans. How long have you studied it and do you live in England permanently now?
AE: Yeah! I’m happily married and I’ve lived here for four years now. I’ve become an Englander. You start studying English from the age of ten, which means …
MR: That’s, I mean, personally, I have to say that’s amazing because most Americans don’t even start learning a language until they turn about 15 in the US. And it’s too late by then.
AE: I mean, like in Sweden as well, most sort of movies are in English and you get sort of subtitles.
MR: Right. I was in Sweden for about three days and I was sick in bed two of the days because I had underdressed in Norway.
AE: (laughs)
MR: Thank you so much for this interview. It was very cool.
AE: No problem. Any Time.

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